Traceability and « grand cru »
Fine lavender represents excellence in lavender all over the world. It is the only lavender recognised by the quality certification AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée - controlled designation of origin) or AOP (appellation d’origine protégée - protected designation of origin).
The quality of Haute-Provence fine lavender has been controlled and protected since the introduction of the AOC (now AOP) label in 1981. This is the only lavender in the world to go through these olfactory and analytical tests. The most important criteria are the geographical location and the soil and climate, referred to as « terroir ». Only producers of four French departments (Drôme, Vaucluse, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence Alps, Hautes-Alpes), whose communes are situated at an altitude of more than 800 metres, are allowed to present their production of essential oil for Haute-Provence lavender AOP selection.
Each year « Le Château du Bois » estate obtains the AOP label for the whole of its fine lavender production. The transparency and traceability of its production is a major guarantee of safety and quality for its customers.
Since 1890 « Le Château du Bois » has guaranteed the high quality of its fine lavender essential oil.
Why the PDO label for fine lavender oil has been created in 1981 ?
“It is the wonder of the Midi (southern France) dressed in blue” , said Maurice Mésségué.
He’s right! You can’t stop telling about lavender’s virtues. Its fragrance is likened to a special gift. Its essential oil is a powerful antiseptic; at the same time it is fresh, revitalizing and healing to tissues and it has many therapeutic virtues.
So why is it not better known and used more often?
That is because some people who know only profit wanting to strangle and kill the beautiful lavender around us preferring to import cheaper but lower quality lavender. Always seeking higher profits, they also widely used synthetic products in almost all Colognes, toilet waters, perfumes, soaps, etc.
To this the lavender growers said, “No!”
A number of them organized as a group to market and publicize their wonderful products. These people are pioneers; they have succeeded against all odds in gaining a foothold in international as well as French markets.
Their unions are fully committed to a fight without mercy for which the survival of entire regions is at stake. To win, they chose to play the game of loyalty and honesty by offering their natural products such as they are.
Thus AOC lavender essential oil from Haute Provence was created.
The criterias of the PDO label
Which lavender can display the AOC label?
Exclusively the Angustifolia P. Miller lavender, also called “true lavender”, “fine lavender” or “lavender of population” and lavender coming only from traditional cultures. All varieties of lavandin and clonal lavender cannot get the PDO label.
To what does the AOC label apply?
AOC applies to essential oil (also called “essence”) obtained by steam stripping the flowering tops of lavender in the various distilleries spread within the production zones.
To qualify for the AOC label, these essential oils must come from the zones enclosed by four producing departments: Drôme, Vaucluse, Alpes de Haute Provence, and the Hautes Alpes. A minimum altitude of 800 meters is imposed and the product must pass a double series of tests: analytical and olfactory (the individual batches are sampled and examined under anonymity).
The one and only territory of PDO fine lavender in the world.
A guaranteed lavender for a protected consumer
The guarantee of origin and traditional quality applies to the authentic lavender essential oils from Haute Provence and they are the only ones entitled to use the label AOC.
Traceability is unassailable and the government may conduct random checks at any stage of commercialization.
All this was requested by the producers themselves to protect what is regarded as the best lavender produced anywhere in the world and to maintain its prestige.
To learn more :
Association des Producteurs d'Huiles Essentielles de Lavande de Haute-provence Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée
84390 Sault France
Tél : +33 (0)6 68 28 19 36
- Read the Decree of October 24, 1997